Tags: Senate | Isnt | Getting | Younger

Senate Isn't Getting Any Younger

Saturday, 09 Mar 2013 04:33 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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While a number of U.S. senators have announced their intent to retire, don’t expect the Senate to get much younger as a whole.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan announced his retirement on Thursday — the seventh senator to do so since the start of the year, reports The Washington Post. But while the number of retirements appears to be headed for a record — over the past three election cycles the number of Senate retirements ranks as the second-most since the 1970s — the new crop of replacements has not significantly lowered the average age of the chamber.

Following the 2012 elections, the average age of the Senate has only dropped slightly — from 62.2 years to 62 years, according to the Congressional Research service. So even as Sen. Daniel Akaka, 86; Herb Kohl, 77, and Ben Nelson, 71, step down, newly elected Sen. Angus King of Maine is 68 and fellow freshman Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Deb Fischer, R-Neb, are all in their 60s.

As a result, even though older senators are leaving — the retirements tend to be from members who are 70 or older — the ones who remain get two years older, and in a cumulative effect, the Senate will be older than it was 10 years ago.

Senators are also serving shorter terms in office. Six years ago, 44 senators had served at least three terms, but that number is down to 32 and will likely drop further after next year's elections.

By 2015, at least 50 members will have served one full term or less.



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